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Newham Panorama Illustration

Arrival Infrastructures and Migrant Newcomers in European Cities (AIMEC)

Photo credit: Paul Clements 'Panorama of Newham', Commissioned by Newham General Hospital (  


Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Economic and Social Research Council logo.

Total value of project


Value to Coventry University


Coventry University Project team

Prof. Susanne Wessendorf and Dr. Charlie Rumsby


Prof. Karel Arnaut, Dr. Bruno Meeus (University of Leuven, Belgium), Heike Hanhörster and Miriam Neßler (ILS Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Germany)


March 2021 - August 2023

Project Overview

AIMEC investigates how newcomers in European cities find information about arrival, and how long-established residents, including those with a migration background, support newcomers. It examines so-called ‘arrival areas’ where migrants have been arriving over many decades and where ‘arrival infrastructures’ have emerged. These include civil society organisations supporting migrants, places of worship which welcome migrants, as well as small businesses such as barbers, grocery shops and money transfer agencies which are run by longer-established migrants. The project examines the role played by these arrival infrastructures in providing information about settlement to newcomers. It investigates these processes in East London, Brussels and Dortmund. To find out more, see: 

Project Objectives

  1. To push the emerging research field of arrival infrastructures further by examining the role of place for migrant inclusion and social mobility, and by bringing together theories on integration with those on urban inequality.
  2. To shed light on the role of differing immigration regimes, local policies, political and socio-economic conditions and institutions in Dortmund, Brussels and London in shaping the emergence of arrival infrastructures.
  3. To investigate in-depth the tapestry of formal and informal arrival infrastructures in each area, using ethnographic and comparative methods.
  4. To examine the channels through which newcomers access information about arrival and settlement, and whether and how arrival infrastructures are instrumental in social mobility.

Impact Statement

The project will address three different types of stakeholders:

  1. National and local governments
  2. Local voluntary and community organisations
  3. Service providers (in the broadest sense) who provide support to newcomers (shop keepers, barbers, landlords, etc.), here described as ‘public realm service providers’

It aims to:

  • Contribute to local councils’ development of support provision for new arrivals and inform national and local governments and policy makers about settlement strategies and needs of new arrivals, including the provisions provided to newcomers by long-established migrants.
  • Contribute to civil society organisations’ strategies and activities aimed at supporting newcomers, and create, promote and enhance networks between organisations and institutions which support newcomers.
  • Provide public realm service providers with information on existing services to which they can refer newcomers who seek their support.
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